2010 Honda Insight EX
2010 Honda Insight EX; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge

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By Bob McHugh

The conclusion of the federal EcoAuto incentive program for fuel-efficient vehicles coupled with a drop in the pump price of gasoline has diminished the financial argument in favour of a hybrid vehicle, according to the latest British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) Hybrid Cost Study.

Since the study however, the price of gas has crept up again, confirming the importance of energy prices on hybrid affordability.

Five new vehicles joined the hybrid ranks this year:

  • The Honda Insight is a compact, five-door hatchback. It’s a dedicated (with no direct conventional gasoline-only equivalent) hybrid vehicle that runs on a new generation version of the Honda Motor Assist system.
  • The Chrysler Aspen Hybrid is a full-sized SUV with a new two-mode hybrid drivetrain. It’s a shared technology with GM.
  • The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is an upscale full-sized SUV with the two-mode hybrid drivetrain system.
  • The Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid and GMC Sierra Hybrid are twin- model, full-sized light-duty pickup trucks that are also powered by the new two-mode hybrid system.
  • The Ford Fusion Hybrid is a new mid-sized four-door sedan. Power is provided by a new-generation, full-hybrid system that provides added electric-only propulsion.
    2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid
    2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid; photo by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge

    The BCAA Hybrid Cost Study asks this question, “Can a consumer recover the extra money generally needed to buy a hybrid vehicle (when compared to its gasoline-only equivalent) assuming, like most people, the customer purchases one with the aid of an auto bank loan and drives it for five years?”

    The complete study now looks at 36 vehicles: 18 hybrids and 18 gasoline-only comparative vehicles made by the same manufacturer. Establishing a non-hybrid comparable vehicle is sometimes difficult, especially for the two dedicated hybrid vehicles in the study, the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. The Toyota Matrix was chosen as the closest match to Prius and the DX-G trim level of the Honda Civic was picked for the Insight.

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